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Driven: Entry-level Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross on the way

Cross your heart: Two variants are offered now, but the Eclipse Cross range will expand with a new ES variant later in 2018.

New base Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross coming later this year to add volume to new SUV


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30 Jan 2018

MITSUBISHI will broaden the appeal of its freshly launched Eclipse Cross small SUV later this year with the addition of a new entry-level variant that will likely be priced below $30,000 (plus on-road costs).

The all-new SUV hits showrooms this month in two model grades, kicking off with the front-wheel-drive LS from $30,500 plus on-roads and the flagship Exceed which is offered in front- and all-wheel-drive guise from $36,000 and $38,500 respectively.

A base variant will give Mitsubishi a range-opener that will help the Eclipse Cross better compete against its major rivals, including the Nissan Qashqai that is available is base ST manual guise from $26,490.

Mitsubishi is yet to confirm pricing or specification for the forthcoming baseline variant, but it will use the ES moniker found elsewhere in the Mitsubishi stable.

Speaking to GoAuto at the Eclipse Cross media launch in Hobart last weekend, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) president and CEO John Signoriello said he expected the new crossover to capture 1000 sales a month when the ES variant becomes available later in the year.

He also said the Eclipse Cross has the potential to become the company’s best-selling SUV.

“Best-selling SUV, I mean that is the ASX at the moment,” he said. “It definitely has the potential. We are launching with a higher spec product and about the middle of this year or later this year, we will bring down an entry-level model.

“It doesn’t mean we are going to have a cheap vehicle. It just means we are going to be consistent with what we do across our range – ES, LS and the Exceed. So it definitely has the potential to be the highest-selling SUV we have got, definitely.

“When we launched ASX, did we think that was going to be the highest-selling SUV? Every manufacturer would believe that what they launch will be successful.

When I look at this car (Eclipse Cross) there is no reason why it shouldn’t be.

If we can straddle the availability of it, make it attractive to all, which I think we can, there is no reason that it can’t be.”

Mr Signoriello said Mitsubishi had recorded more than 20,000 expressions of interest for the Eclipse Cross in the lead up to its launch, describing it as an “awesome result”.

“We are obviously very interested to see what it does convert to, but it is a great lead-up,” he said. “On the basis that we hadn’t released the car yet, 20,000 expressions of interest is a really good result. We are really pleased about it.”

While he would not detail MMAL’s future marketing plans, Mr Signoriello said the Eclipse Cross would be part of a change in branding for the Japanese car-maker in Australia.

“I think this car has the potential. It will redefine the brand. It is stylish, it is modern, it is new, it has got all of the technology in it. You will see a few things I don’t really want to get into with the way we promote the vehicle.

I see it as an opportunity to redefine Mitsubishi,” he said.

The Eclipse Cross will share the small SUV segment with its ASX stablemate that is priced from $25,000 to $37,500, but Mitsubishi expects them to appeal to different buyers, with the Eclipse Cross likely to face competition from larger models in the segment including the Qashqai and Jeep’s new Compass.

As reported, the Eclipse Cross is based on an evolution of Mitsubishi’s GS platform that also underpins the Lancer, ASX and Outlander, and measures 50mm longer than the ASX while sharing an identical width and wheelbase.

Under the bonnet of all variants is an all-new 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power at 5500rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1800rpm, matched exclusively with a continuously variable transmission with Sport mode, manual override and paddle shifters.

Official combined-cycle fuel consumption is 7.3 litres per 100km for two-wheel-drive variants and 7.7L/100km for the Exceed AWD, while CO2 emissions are rated at 165 and 174 grams of CO2 per kilometre respectively.

The “highly rigid, lightweight” body of the Eclipse Cross is made using 55 per cent high-tensile steel, and the company says the body was developed for improved straight-line stability at high speeds and for a more direct steering feel through the electric power steering system.

Underneath is a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension set-up tuned for “handling precision, cornering performance and ride comfort”.

With the 60:40 split-fold rear seats upright, rear cargo space varies from 341 litres to 448L as the rear seats are capable of sliding forwards or backwards by 200mm.

Standard gear on the two-wheel-drive-only LS includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports and a touchpad controller, leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift lever, electric park brake, keyless entry and push-button start and chrome-accented instrument cluster.

It also comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, climate-control air-conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, privacy glass, forward collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, auto high beam, electronic stability and traction control and seven airbags.

Stepping up to the Exceed 2WD adds dual-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, colour head-up display, leather seats with power adjustment and front heating function, and safety features including blind-spot warning, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, surround-view monitor and the ultrasonic misacceleration mitigation system, which prevents accidental excessive throttle inputs while stationary or at low speeds.

AWD Exceeds gain Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control four-wheel-drive system and selectable driving modes including Auto, Snow and Gravel.

The Eclipse Cross has been awarded a five-star crash safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The Eclipse Cross is available in seven exterior paint colours, including white (the only non-premium paint option), as well as Sterling Silver Metallic, Lightning Blue Pearl, Black Pearl, Starlight Pearl and Titanium Pearl for an extra $590. The other colour available, Brilliant Red, will set you back $890.

The Eclipse Cross is covered by Mitsubishi’s five-year/100,000km warranty and service intervals are 15,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross pricing*
LS FWD (a)$30,500
Exceed FWD (a)$36,000
Exceed AWD (a)$38,500
*Excludes on-road costs

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